Question box – awareness about vocabulary, norms and values
Published 1/11/2010 | Updated 4/14/2011
The RFSU Question Box offers people of all ages the opportunity to get answers to their questions on sexual matters. Each question is answered personally by a nurse, midwife, psychotherapist or a sexual counsellor.
The RFSU Question box is only available in Swedish, but we have translated a selection of frequently asked questions into English – see Sex FAQ to the left.
RFSU:s internet based ”question box” was first opened in 1997. Every year we receive thousands of questions from people of all ages. The work method used differs in many ways from traditional information and counseling where the meeting takes place eye-to-eye enabling a dialog. The written word is the tool of communication.
Method development has from the start been an important part of the work. This might, among other issues, concern the language we use and make us become aware of what we express in our answers. Words contain values, and the chosen word in a specific context expresses one’s view regarding a certain issue. We use “penetrative sex” as an example. What are the norms connected to this expression? How are they being reproduced? How does this influence the way sexological problems are described and how we meet different questions concerning sexology?
The work method is yet to be evaluated. Nevertheless we find that it has changed over time due to discussions taken place. One example is that we have decided not to use words that might be seen as excluding or in other ways contradicts our values. This has also changed the answers and advice we give.
Discussion and recommendations
Various norms in society have impact on us all. As a sexual adviser or counselor one also expresses values. The question is what values and why? Discussing questions like this is one way to become aware of what values are being expressed when giving advise.